I’ve had a fascination with locomotives, railroads, and trains in general since I was a young boy. An old photo of my father and I sitting in the middle of a circle of Lionel track—train poised for departure—after setting up a new set when I was about 3 years old was only the beginning. I would later learn the term layaway when I paid $10 a month for a vintage operating news stand to go along my tracks. It cost $110—I was 10 or 11 years old. Big money—months of agony waiting. My early electrical skills were formed from wiring buildings and fixing old pieces.
Hands on knowledge is always a great learning tool. This past weekend I got a thrill out of being at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA with everyone from Dalvero as we reportaged the working train yard and roundhouse. Years of stored up fantasies and childhood dreams came to life as I stood before—in many cases touching—giant locomotives from the past. I’ve always believed that our interests and desires as adults stem from both the epic events of childhood to the most passing of moments. Good or bad—one never knows what will effect another’s mind and soul. I have such vivid memories that if quantified would seem to have lasted weeks if not years but in fact were only an instance in my life. As I write—on the heels of a short trip to Pennsylvania—I am swimming in a flood of thoughts realizing that what makes a place like the Steamtown site so important is that if it instigated a sea of memories for me in just two days, imagine what it would do for someone twice my age. Or even better, just think about what first time memories would be implanted for someone half or a quarter my age. There is a world out there ready to be experienced. Time to have some fun.